As more travelers become concerned about environmental issues, they’re increasingly seeking out hotels and resorts with strong green credentials. Properties that care for their local environment, foster sustainable tourism and practice social responsibility. Mexico has embraced the trend, and nowhere more so than on the Riviera Maya, the beautiful – and ecologically sensitive – stretch of Caribbean coastline from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen, near Tulum.
We’ve sought out the best properties in this region, from five star luxury to sand-between-the-toes rustic, where you can vacation with a clean conscience.
What Makes it Green: The fact that there’s literally no electricity in the fifteen rustic-yet-romantic villas is Azulik’s environmental claim to fame. Water is drawn straight from the resort’s own well, which fills the carved wooden bathtubs both inside and on the private deck. There’s no A/C either, just ocean breezes. Add the fact that the resort has no restaurant (guests can order room service from next-door resort Copal) and you’re looking at an impressively small eco-footprint.
Best Green Feature: The absence of telephones, TVs and light switches means couples have more time to focus on candles, moonlight and romance.
Hacienda Tres Rios
What Makes it Green: 326 acres of pristine tropical rainforest, rivers and cenotes provide an ecologically diverse home to numerous species of plants and animals. A desalination plant, ongoing plant and wildlife monitoring, waste management and environmental education keep this luxury property at the top of its class in green tourism – a dedication recognized by both Green Globe and Rainforest Alliance. In 2006, Tres Rios was recognized by the Mexican government for its sustainable tourism development.
Best Green Feature: Innovative practices abound, like the fact that cold water from a deep well is used to cool air conditioning systems, while the heat generated from the A/C is captured and used to heat water.
What Makes it Green: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are known for their longtime dedication to environmental stewardship, and this luxury property in the Mayakoba complex is no exception. During the property’s construction phase, more than 1,500 trees were rescued and relocated around the property’s gardens. Reduced pesticide use, a stringent recycling program in which profits from recycled materials are used to fund local environmental initiatives, and energy efficient air conditioning are just some of the ways the hotel strives for green excellence.
Best Green Features: The guest bicycle program and socially responsible partnerships with local groups like Community Tours Sian Ka’an and Mayan artisans.
La Nueva Vida de Ramiro
What Makes it Green: This tranquil Tulum resort is powered by solar panels and wind generators, which provide 24 hour electricity. The hotel also employs an environmentally-sensitive sewer treatment system.
Best Green Feature: The turtle egg sanctuary on the beach in front of the hotel: volunteers collect vulnerable sea turtle eggs and relocate them to a fenced-off area of sand where they can hatch and be released in safety.
Hotel Akumal Caribe
What Makes it Green: This idyllic beachfront property founded CEA – Centro Ecologico Akumal – an organization dedicated to monitoring and preserving the sensitive waterways and wildlife, most notably sea turtles, of this beautiful area. Waste management initiatives, an Akumal-wide recycling program and ongoing water preservation efforts make this hotel a model of successful environmental activism.
Best Green Feature: The in-room recycling baskets for plastic, glass and aluminum let guests participate in a hands-on way in the hotel’s green efforts
Images Courtesy of the Resorts
Article Courtesy of Emma Sloley, About.com
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